With our three suitcases and two carry-ons in tow, we made the very smart decision of taking a taxi to our apartment in Paris. We were at our front door within 30 minutes and out on the terrace snapping photos within 30 seconds. This was sure to be an incredible week.
We dropped our bags and headed right out onto the busy, famous, and popular Rue Cler, just around the corner from our place. The options for dinner were overwhelming: Korean, French, Italian, etc. We settled on Cafe Central, just across from Cafe du Marche.
We sat like the French, next to each other, at a tiny table, facing the street, watching passersby and slowly enjoying our meal.
We were planning on ordering typically French food, but when we saw everyone around us ordering mouthwatering burgers, we figured they must know something we didn't, so we jumped on the bandwagon. Tyler's burger was complete with not one, not two, but three different cheeses (bleu, Comté, Cheddar), and mine, being a Croque Madame, had an egg and bacon. We also shared a warm goat cheese salad. Yum!
By the time our carafe of wine was empty and the last fries were popped into our mouths, we strolled the short distance to the Eiffel Tower.
From farther away, locals sat on the grass in groups, drinking wine, nibbling on cheese and baguettes, but the closer you came to the tower, the louder and dirtier the grassy knolls became.
My suggestion? Stay back and enjoy it from a distance with the locals.
You don't need to be right under it to be in awe of it, especially when the light show comes on every half hour once the sun has set (and we could even see it from our apartment's kitchen window!).
That night we slept with the French doors to the terrace wide open and didn't wake until the sun shone through onto our faces and woke us up.
We weren't too hungry after the massive feast the day before, so we did as the French do and found a café only 100 meters away from our doorstep and ordered an espresso and pain au chocolat each at L'Éclair.
This became our morning routine. The man in the red pants above was there every morning. He would first go in and have an espresso at the bar and then take his cigarette and newspaper outside. I like to think we'd be great friends if I actually lived right around the corner.
After a slow and delightful breakfast, we walked around the city, without any real aim in direction.
Not far into our walk, we came to the Invalides, whose golden dome we can see from our terrace. With our museum pass in hand (a great buy if you planning on visiting lots of museums), we walked right in and visited the exhibits.
Under the dome itself, rests Napoleon, safe in his larger than life tomb, fit perfectly for a megalomaniac.
As we made our way deeper into the city's various neighborhoods, popping in and out of little shops, our small breakfast caught up to us and lunch beckoned.
We shared a pizza diavola and a delicious burrata salad for lunch at Ademi. It was the ideal pick-me-up.
We couldn't have timed lunch more perfectly. During the course of our meal, rain drenched the city, drawing people in and filling every last seat in the place, and before we'd finished, the sky was as blue as ever. This is how much of the day went.
The gardens in Paris are impeccable. Each one is so elegantly manicured and locals must take such pride in them because there is never any trash in sight. The Tuileries Garden is especially lovely.
We walked for hours and hours before we decided to take a break, so we headed back to our place, but not before we made a pitstop.
There's a well known fromagerie on Rue Cler, appropriately named Le Fromagerie that Tyler had sniffed out earlier in the morning.
The staff is so friendly and happy to offer any advice and answer any questions, in either English or French. They're not shy about handing out samples either. I picked out one that struck my fancy, a sweet and mild Chevre, and Tyler grabbed a Brie, Comté, and another old and pungeunt goat cheese.
We bought a bottle of wine at the market and a baguette at the boulangerie before making our way home.
We gobbled down a pretty significant portion of our loot while we talked about the day's highlights.
Eventually we got our second wind and I craved something sweet. The perfect solution? Hot chocolate at the famous Cafe de Flore.
Somehow we managed to get a table right on the street (prime realestate, mind you) and each ordered a drink.
Later, we meandered through narrow streets and by people eating their dinners al fresco. We came to an outdoor market, where Tyler made good friends with a local butcher.
Our last site of the day was the Notre Dame. It's pretty incredible and best visited in the evening, before the sun has set (far fewer people).
We took the scenic route home, along the Seine.
We dodged rain showers, and eventually were greeted by a rainbow that gave us just enough sunlight to get home.
Our evening ended with feet up on the terrace and another taste of cheese. Perfect, non?
More Paris tomorrow!